Ninth Circuit frowns at broad limitations on wolf trapping in Montana

Jake

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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A court case brought ahead by an injunction last year, is receiving skepticism from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The injunction issued by a federal judge Donald Molloy, prohibited wolf trappings in Western Montana as there was worries that grizzly bears were at risk of maiming. The original rules had trappings where there was known grizzly traffic. According to the State of Montana, they have had huge success in keeping track of the grizzly bear populations, and have argued that there has been no incidents of bears being maimed by wolf traps in the designated areas. They've been tracking the bear population for the last 35 years.

But, conservation groups are arguing that due to the warmer winters, and rise in grizzly populations, there could be a heightened risk of bears getting caught in wolf traps. While the judges on the other hand don't agree and have questioned the need of such regulations.

Follow the story on Count House News here.
 
Location
Montana, United States
I don't know who to side with here. I want to side with the people fighting for the bears lives. But if the state is keeping a close eye on the grizzly population and knows their whereabouts, shouldn't they then know the best locations to not put wolf traps? Especially if they were able to keep track of the population for 35 years.

I do wonder though about the warmer weather. It could be causing bears to come out of hibernation sooner, and I can see the bear population growing too. So maybe there is a cause for some concern here.
 
I think you really need to pay attention to what the actual species occurrence data are saying. I liked this quote provided by Montana's Assistant Attorney General as part of her argument to the Ninth Circuit panel:
"In the 35 years since grizzly bears were listed, no grizzly bear has ever been incidentally captured in any trap of any kind outside the place where Montana said the grizzly bears would be in the estimated occupied grizzly bear range."

It makes sense that conservation groups are concerned about growing grizzly populations and warmer winters leading to expanded ranges, and with that the need for wolf trapping prohibitions over a larger area. But the bottom line is that adverse effects to grizzlies due to trapping outside the known range remain speculative. As Montana's Assistant General emphasized, there is zero data right now indicating that this is actually a problem. Government decisions based on speculation - whether by agencies or judges - need to be avoided. Such decisions will usually get flagged as overreach.
 
I think you really need to pay attention to what the actual species occurrence data are saying. I liked this quote provided by Montana's Assistant Attorney General as part of her argument to the Ninth Circuit panel:


It makes sense that conservation groups are concerned about growing grizzly populations and warmer winters leading to expanded ranges, and with that the need for wolf trapping prohibitions over a larger area. But the bottom line is that adverse effects to grizzlies due to trapping outside the known range remain speculative. As Montana's Assistant General emphasized, there is zero data right now indicating that this is actually a problem. Government decisions based on speculation - whether by agencies or judges - need to be avoided. Such decisions will usually get flagged as overreach.
Yeah it seems to be a non issue at the moment. From the fact that the bears seem to be unscathed at the moment, and the fact they are keeping a very close eye on the population, I don't expect to see a rise in bear injuries anytime soon.

I do get where the conservation groups are coming from, but they likely aren't out there in the same capacity the state or city has been. Especially considering it's been calm for the past 35 years, I don't see things changing much in the next few years.
 
The change in policy regarding wolf trappings in Western Montana seems to have significant implications for wildlife conservation and management. The judges' questioning of the necessity for such regulations signals a divergence in perspectives on wildlife management. The outcome will likely have implications not only for predator control policies but also for the broader conversation around balancing human activities.
 
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